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Campus carry bill passed in WV, headed to governor’s desk

A concealed handgun. (Dreamstime/TNS)
February 22, 2023

West Virginia’s legislature has passed a campus carry bill that is headed to Gov. Jim Justice’s desk to sign into law.

The state’s House of Delegates voted 84-13 in favor of the measure that would allow concealed carry permit holders to carry handguns on public college and university campuses, Fox News reported.

“The National Rifle Association applauds the West Virginia Legislature’s passage of NRA-backed campus carry,” NRA West Virginia State Director Art Thomm said. 

“There is no reason why any adult who is deemed mature enough to defend his or her country at war should not be entrusted to defend themselves and others on campus. And there is no reason an adult who is allowed to carry in other parts of the state can’t be trusted when on campus,” he added. 

READ MORE: Maryland trying to expand ‘gun free zones’ as concealed carry permits soar

If the bill is signed into law, West Virginia will become the 12th state to enact a campus carry bill, Fox reported.

“It is the intent of the Legislature,” reads SB10, “to establish, by this act, conditions under which persons with a current and valid license to carry a concealed deadly weapon may carry a concealed pistol or revolver at a state institution of higher education.”

The bill will also require each college campus to provide at least one “secure location for the storage of a pistol or revolver” in an on-campus residence hall.

West Virginia residents are divided on the issue despite the large number of gun owners in the state. The well-known hunting state boasts gun ownership among an estimated 58.5 percent of its adult residents, according to CBS News.

A survey of West Virginia University students found that 51 percent opposed the campus carry law, WVU’s student newspaper, The Daily Athenaeum, reported

WVU’s President E. Gordon Gee and Marshall University President Brad Smith opposed the bill in a joint letter, claiming that each school’s “board of governors are best suited to decide whether guns should be permitted on campus.”

The letter also added a call for any law to include best practices and safeguards from other states that have passed similar campus carry laws.

“We understand that there is significant support for campus carry in the Legislature. If the public policy preference of the Legislature is to permit guns on campus, we hope that the Legislature considers best practices and safeguards from other states with campus carry laws,” Gee and Smith said.